Braving Singles!

2020 has certainly been a different year! From full lockdown to getting back on the water on a restricted capacity, it’s tested skills and confidence.

In line with Scottish Rowing guidance, the period from the end of June through to October has predominantly been in single sculls. This initially posed a challenge for the club as many members hadn’t experienced being in a single up until this point. But with the purchase of some stable singles with floats, that was all to change! 🙂

We asked 4 of our members to recap on their experience and how they have progressed. Below is their comments. We hope this will inspire many more to give it a try in the confidence that their coaches are supporting them every step of the way!

Sean Peter;

“Me, in a single, not a hope in Hell!” That’s what I always said when asked the question. So what changed, well COVID came along a forced a new set of rules on us. The club went out and bought singles with floats to enable us to row, and all credit to Lucy and Heather, they kept gentle nudging me towards the new bright orange singles. Then the day arrived, the day I had been dreading for years, me out in a single! The floats were firmly anchored to the side of the boat, I was shown how to get in and out safely, so off I went. The first thing I did was to test the floats, I wanted to know how much, or little, support they gave me. Immediately I knew there was no way the boat was going to go over, what a relief. I think I spent the best part of 2 hrs on the water that day. Then came the time to take the floats off, was I nervous, definitely! How far will I get from the slip before I am swimming back? Off I went, I was still on top of the water and keeping every instruction I had just been given in my mind. I made it up to the bridge and back down a couple of times that day and was converted. Since then there has been trips down to the red boy and back, up to the bridge, turning the boat around and some set pieces on the water. This was going great

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And then, there I was, swimming in the river. Yep I had my first, and so far only, capsize. So what happened, I don’t really know. I had stopped, then things went in slow motion, apparently it was quick but not for me! I saw 1 blade go under the boat, then the next, then I was in the water. At that moment the training we had in the swimming pool came straight into my mind. I swam and pushed the boat to the side, signaled I was fine, got back in and rowed back to the club. It was a good bit of learning to keep your balance and wits about you the whole time. Since then I have been out in the new heavy weight single down to Inchyra as well and loving the new challenge. We have a fab group of people in this club with a wealth of experience, trusting them helped me take that step into singles and I am loving learning from them and taking on the challenge of the single.

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Fiona Barrowman;

Well, I never thought that I would ever be out single sculling on the River Tay in Perth, but that’s exactly what I managed to achieve during the last few months, with the help of our amazing club coaches Lucy Rogers and Heather McKenzie.Once lockdown was lifted and the club got back up and running, due to Covid-19 restrictions, we could only go out in singles, which I liken to sitting on an oversized matchstick. My first outing was in one of the clubs new bright orange Glide One boats with floats and I absolutely love it! I felt completely safe and the floats gave me the confidence to go out in all weathers and varying conditions. Then the time came to progress, the floats came off, and it all got serious!Sitting in my oversized matchstick, without my trusted floats, certainly made me feel vulnerable, exposed and tense. Initially, I was so petrified that I couldn’t do much other than encourage myself to take a stroke whilst cursing. The coaches were always there with some helpful hints and tips: Heather told me to “relax and smile” and Lucy reminded me to “breathe”, all of which are easier said than done when you’re shaking like a leaf and realise that multitasking isn’t an option through fear!One Wednesday evening session with Lucy was pivotal in my progression: I was put through my paces and taken completely out of my comfort zone and guess what… it worked. I was actually sculling in a single, not with any degree of amazing skill, but I was actually singling and dare I say enjoying it! The support, guidance, encouragement and dedication of our club coaches Lucy and Heather is and has been invaluable to my introduction to singling and I feel very privileged to be part of such an amazing Rowing Club which has so many equally amazing people!

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Elliot Wood;

So the man on the news said we could venture out of our homes again, and someone mentioned that we could get back to rowing, but not any sort of rowing i’m used to. Rowing in those tiny little boats, you know, the ones you see racked in the shed owned by people who know what they are doing. Not really my thing, I’m a big boat kind of person, hiding in the middle of an 8, maybe a 4, or a double if there is really nothing else going, but certainly not a single.The truth is that i was never going to be able to do it, i’m too big, too uncoordinated and i’ll whisper it, but it looked quite hard. Every rower knows someone who has fallen in when they were in a single, and therefore were best avoided.Turns out I didn’t have a choice. It was that or nothing. The arrival of the fleet of orange boats gave me hope. They looked rugged enough that even i couldn’t break them, and most importantly of all, came with stabilisers, a safety net for the hard of talent like me.It turns out that a safety net is just what I needed. From that first outing, I was forced to rethink everything I knew about being out in a single. I could do it, slowly at first and with more than a few wobbles, but even I managed to progress to removing the stabilisers. It was wasn’t so hard after all, admittedly you couldn’t blame your crew mates for the boat being unstable/down on one side etc, but even I managed it. And now everyone in Tay RC knows one more person who has fallen in while they were out in a single, but don’t let that put you off, it’s well worth the effort.

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Margo Peter;

Me row in a single? Never!! Nervous enough in a double. The orange boats arrived and I stood back and watched as others ventured out. I watched from a distance for a few weeks while listening to others gentle encouraging words. Then one day I decided to go for it, I was so nervous I actually felt sick. Very quickly discovered how stable these boats are with floats on and I was off. Really enjoyed my first outing. Been out a couple of times, still using floats and really enjoying it. Great experience to find and understand your faults and help correct them. Not sure I will ever graduate to no floats but who knows, after-all I did also say I’d never go out at all!